Home » How To » How to Create a System Image Backup in Windows 11

How to Create a System Image Backup in Windows 11

This article shows how you can use the built-in tools to create a complete system image backup in Windows 11 that can help restore your PC when needed.

Though it is one of the most ignored things, you should always have a full backup of your operating system. That way, if your system fails for any reason, you can quickly restore the system image and start using your computer. Most of all, the backup helps regain access to your PC and all the data by restoring the operating system.

The good thing is that you don’t have to use a third-party utility to create a system image backup. Instead, Windows has always had built-in tools and options to make a System Image Backup. All you have to do is find the tool and click a few times. Windows will automatically back up the entirety of the operating system to the designated directory.

So, without further ado, let me show the steps to make a full system image backup in the Windows 11 operating system.

Table of contents:

  1. What is System Image Backup?
  2. Requirements
  3. How to create a System Image Backup

What is System Image Backup?

As the name implies, a system image backup is a full backup of your operating system. i.e., you can C drive. The backup contains all the installed applications, drivers, application settings, and more. Of course, if your C drive has personal files, the system image backup also has them.

Remember that a System Image Backup will not back up your entire hard disk. It will only back up the operating system. i.e., the C drive.

A quick note: You can force System Image Backup to back up files in other drives, but it is not recommended to save space and time.


Though not required, it is strongly advised that you back up the system image to an external hard drive. That way, even if your PC’s hard drive fails, you can still access the backup.

The backup drive should have sufficient space to back up your entire C drive.

How to create a System Image Backup

We will use an old Windows tool called Backup and Restore to make a System Image Backup. Here’s how.

  1. Press the “Start” key.
  2. Search and open “Control Panel.”
  3. Click “Backup and Restore.”
  4. Press the “Create System Backup” link.
  5. Select the “On a hard disk” option.
  6. Choose a hard disk from the dropdown.
  7. Press “Next.”
  8. Select the following checkboxes.
    1. EFI System Partition
    2. (C:) (System)
    3. Windows Recovery Environment (System)
  9. Press the “Start backup” button.
  10. Windows starts creating the system image backup.
  11. Once done, close the backup wizard.
  12. With that, you have successfully created the system backup.

Steps with more details:

Plug in an external hard disk. This is optional but recommended.

The system image backup option is only available via the Control Panel. So, open the Start menu, search for “Control Panel,” and open it.

After opening the Control Panel application, find and click the “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” option.

open backup and restore

Click the “Create System Backup” link on the sidebar of the Backup and Restore page.

click create a system image link

Now, select the “On a hard disk” option and then choose a hard disk. As I said earlier, choose an external hard disk. You can also back up the system image to a DVD or network location if needed.

select hard disk

Now, select the following checkboxes and click the “Next” button. These options will ensure that your entire C drive, including the system partitions, is backed up.

  • EFI System Partition
  • (C:) (System)
  • Windows Recovery Environment (System)

Note: If you want, you can select other drives to include in the backup. Remember that this action can significantly increase the backup time and size.

select the operating system drives

Finally, verify the options and click the “Start backup” button.

click start backup to create a system image backup

As soon as you do that, Windows starts creating the System Image Backup to the chosen drive. The time it takes to back up the entire C drive depends on your hard disk and the C drive size.

Windows creating system image backup

Once done, close the backup wizard.

You have now successfully created a System Image Backup in Windows. If you like, launch File Explorer and navigate to the drive where you saved the System Image. A new folder called “WindowsImageBackup” will appear. The System Image Backup files are located in this folder.

system image backup folder

Restore System Image Backup

To restore the system image, open the Control Panel, go to the “Backup and Restore (Windows 7),” and click the “Restore” link. From there, select the backup and follow the wizard. It will restore the System Image Backup.

That is all. It is that simple to create a system image backup in Windows 11.

I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top